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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady

Get Smart opened to a number right along the lines of last summer’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, which is a success for WB marketing. My guess – and no one out there is doing anything but guessing at this point – is that the casting picked up viewers from each of the stars – Carell, Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, and Alan Arkin – each of whom has a very specific constituency. This is the summer that What Stays In Vegas has grossed the quietest $77 million you will ever see, but not hear. Get Smart is The Next Comedy for anyone other than Sandler fans. After two weeks of Hulk, Panda, Zohan, and Night, it seems to have been a chance for everyone who wasn’t into those narrow titles to get out of the hear.
And the next comedies are weeks away with Meet Dave, Momma Mia!, and The Step Bros all into July… so get a laugh while you can. And prepare for the four-quadrant assault of Wall-E and Hancock with a strong boy showing for Wanted.
The Love Guru is a flop for Mike Myers, though his career is so limited, it’s hard to put into career perspective. This opening was worse than Wayne’s World… better than WWII. Very Balls of Fury.
It’s lovely to see a studio try to cash in on their gossip columnist flacks to spin that they spent less to sell the film than normal. But if you were watching the media, Guru was running spots endlessly, as was Smart (including both films with 30s on The Office this week).. but Smart had actual tie-in ads – for which the advertiser, like Sierra Mist Undercover Orange, pays the cost of the ad buy – while Guru had a total of ZERO. Also, the last push by WB, which probably meant nothing at the box office, wasn’t for The Rock, who has been the main focus of ads for the last month, especially in cross- promotionals, but is focused on improvised spots featuring a more familiar Carell. Clearly what WB was getting as feedback was that fans weren’t seeing Carell in the way they like him. So, improv spots with SC as an entertainment journalist interviewing Rock and Hathaway, with Hathaway in front of a CG Kremlin backdrop, etc. An interesting idea – advertise the movie by avoiding the movie – but as I say, probably too late to have much effect, one way or the other.

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56 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady”

  1. Wrecktum says:

    The Love Poodoo.

  2. sloanish says:

    The Happenain’t.

  3. qwiggles says:

    The Incredible Slump.

  4. Direwolf says:

    I’ve been watching the daily grosses of Kung Fu Panda very closely because I own DWA stock for my clients (I am a media focused money manager). Pretty solid hold again. I posted this in another thread but if you want to see something interesting head over to Mojo and put the daily grosses of Cars and KFP side-by-side. THey are remarkably ever day but Father’s Day, often within $100,000. WallE gets in the way next week but Cars pulled $244 million so KFP should get to $220-240 million. And in the few markets it has opened so far it has outgrossed Ratatouille. I don’t think KFP is that good but it seems like a nice financial success.

  5. Chucky in Jersey says:

    “Mamma Mia!” is a musical, both on stage and on film.

  6. I was at the Mama Mia screening last Wednesday. It is a very fun musical. I’s not as good as Hairspray or Sweeney Todd, but tons better than Phantom Of The Opera, and far more faithful to the source than Rent. If you liked the show, or if you think you’ll like the movie, you’ll probably be satisfied. My wife is a big fan of the show and she was more than pleased.
    On a related note, I’ve often said (after Lady In The Water bombed) that M Night Shyamalan needs to do something insanely different, such as a musical comedy. Anyone wanna see M. Night Shyamalan’s… Wicked?

  7. martin says:

    um, the airblender film is quite a bit different no? Kids movie in the line of a Spy Kids franchise, not exactly like the stuff he’s done before except for the nun movie.

  8. Citizen R says:

    The really eye-popping number for What Happens in Vegas is that’s at $194 million worldwide on the strength of $117 million in foreign markets. And that’s on a production budget reported to be just $35 million.

  9. Agreed, Martin, and I genuinely look forward to it. It allegedly a great cartoon, with a cast chosen by Andrea Romano (the series is almost over, so I’m waiting to watch it all at once), and it’s just the kind of thing that M Night needs to knock out of the park to reestablish his blemished reputation.

  10. Citizen R says:

    I’ve just watched the first dozen episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and it’s a great series. Comparing it to Spy Kids isn’t apt. It offers much richer source material, both in storytelling and visuals, than Spy Kids. It has the capacity to be a very substantial hit, too. Shyamalan could well spend most of the next decade making a Last Airbender trilogy. The challenge for him will be to deliver a film that has a much faster pace and far more humor than his preferred cinematic style.

  11. mutinyco says:

    Even though The Happening bested Indy by $1M on Friday…
    Considering the former trends downward on Sat/Sun and the latter trends upward Sat/Sun, what’s the probability Indy beats it for 5th?…

  12. David Poland says:

    I am aware that MM is a musical… but Universal is selling it as comedy.

  13. jeffmcm says:

    Universal is probably happy that they can point to The Happening’s drop to draw attention from Hulk’s.

  14. martin says:

    One possibility: the original Hulk did not have huge drops because audiences hated it, but because as a character the Hulk comes off as kind of one-note and the marketing was never able to overcome that. Same reason Godzilla did $140 mill. That’s the audience, even if the film is great. It hits with the 1-2 quadrant well, and then gets stopped cold. Same with Hulk 2. May play better with audiences, but still stuck with roughly the same # of people interested in seeing it in theaters. Iron Man and Spidey as characters just appeal to larger demo. I think box office “experts” get too caught up in quality and WOM having a major effect on box office. It certainly does, but not in all cases.

  15. martin says:

    Citizen R, I’ve never seen the tv show, but agreed it sounds like a series that could go on for several films. Is this a step down for Night, basically selling out? Yes. But his “art” is weak at this stage of his career, so going commercial will hopefully recharge him to make another classic like Sixth Sense.

  16. David Poland says:

    Uh… you guys are too hung up on the same old f-ing numbers.
    The Incredible Hulk has actually gotten closer to Hulk since the opening weekend, when it was 11% off the earlier film. Now it’s just 7% off. And the second Friday is actually up from the first film.
    Iron Man is the freak. This is about right for the second shelf comic characters… on its way to a summer $125m – $130m.

  17. Citizen R says:

    The Incredible Hulk opened to somewhat less than Hulk, but will have legs that are a bit stronger and end up at pretty much the same domestic gross. The biggest problem is that Marvel overspent on it. But it’ll go into profit with DVD and won’t cut into the windfall from Iron Man.

  18. Joe Leydon says:

    Outside of the top ten: I am surprised — and, yeah, disappointed — that Stuck (which got some very favorable reviews) is being widely ignored. (It lasted all of a week here in Houston.) Also, Then She Found MeThen She Found Me

  19. Joe Leydon says:, as I was saying: Then She Found Me (with Helen Hunt, who OWNS Lex G’s ass) is holding nicely here, and in a few other places, but doesn’t really seem to be living up to its potential, IMHO. Do you think this is indirectly due to ThinkFilm’s cash problems? Like, the company can’t really give the film the promotion it deserves?

  20. William Goss says:

    And speaking of half-hearted segues, what of The Promotion? Did that not deserve a better push, if at the very least a dump outside of the big and busy summer season?

  21. tjfar67 says:

    This is the summer that What Stays In Vegas has grossed the quietest $77 million you will ever see….
    It’s also one the rare comedies that performed better over seas. It’s worldwide total is about $197 million.

  22. JBM... says:

    I agree re: The Promotion. I caught it at DC’s Landmark theater. Is it really as independent as The Fall or Mongol?
    Anyhow, very solid directorial effort from an extremely talented writer. Had me rolling in points.

  23. Martin S says:

    This must be the new math at work around here.
    Inc. Hulk cost more than Ang-Hulk.
    Inc. Hulk has made less than Ang-Hulk, and most likely will not equal its theatrical.
    Ang-Hulk drop 72% the second week. Inc. Hulk appears to have dropped 69%, making it a statistical wash-out.
    But, if the new math means Inc. Hulk is only to be compared to Ang-Hulk’s final numbers as its expectations, then it’s fine. But then that means Marvel bankrolled this one out of hopes to match the underperformance of the first one. But if that was true, then explain the higher budget. Basic accounting, gents. Inc. Hulk is turning out to be a more costly bust than Ang’s, and the only way to say it’s not is to frame it as a sequel, which was not Marvel’s intention. If they saw it as a marketplace sequel, they would have kept it below 125M. Instead, they approached it as Batman Begins.
    And Martin, though I hate to disagree with you, I don’t see how your position works. Iron Man, was a one-note P&A stunt from Superbowl to opening week and very few people actually knew the character compared to the name. Hulk, especially one based around the TV show, was much more familiar. Logically, the box office’s should be reversed, but WOM seems to have changed that.

  24. Don Murphy says:

    La Finke is reporting that Berstein’s film shut down again. You reported that they found enough money to stay afloat. Please clarify.

  25. christian says:

    I thought the HULK was fine. Not awful but not the kind of movie that sticks. It seemed highly truncated. But at least the fight scenes were comic book scale, unlike IRON MAN.
    I thought Norton did a good job of keeping the character interesting, but I just wish they would have done a prosthetic/CGI combo so the Hulk’s face would look like the old Kirby square face version.

  26. djk813 says:

    Anthony Kaufman’s article on ThinkFilm at indieWIRE talks about Then She Found Me and “rumors” of international money but that “no such deals are immediately evident.”

  27. David Poland says:

    Don –
    As I wrote… what projects the money would be moving to, specifically, was unclear. But there are movies with cash flowing through them now that was not before. It is likely that the funder is picking spots… and wants to throw as little of the good money after the bad.
    And Martin – Whatever the thinking, Incredible Hulk is behind Hulk… catching up a little… but behind. It looks like it will catch up. But it will still lose money. The drops don’t matter in any real way. The comparison doesn’t much matter either, except that Marvel us playing a dangerous game by making any of these budgets more than $100m.
    What’s interesting – to me, at least – is that the two Marvel films this summer represent the two sides of the coin in private funding and studios embracing that.
    As Iron Man closes in on $600 million worldwide, Marvel wins big and Paramount suffers a little by only having distribution. On the flip side, Incredible Hulk doing $250m or so domestic means Universal being thrilled to walk away clean with $25 million or so in fees. Marvel stands to lose between $25 million and $50 million on the film, assuming the $150m pricetag is real.
    Ironically, on the first Hulk, Marvel and Universal were in reversed positions, where Marvel got paid – less, but paid – even though the movie was losing money.

  28. That’s what astounds me about Marvel’s thinking. Ok, we take a franchise that underperformed five years ago, and we re-do it, spending about 20% more, WITH OUR OWN MONEY, and then watch as it does the same as your previous under performing movie, except this time our bank account feels the drain and your stock holders take the hit. BRILLIANT! Can’t imagine why Marvel went bankrupt in 1996. And this is why I’m glad I don’t own Marvel stock.
    Of course, this is also the golden rule of franchise film making – never, ever spend more on your sequel than the original made in the US. With the exception of Terminator 2 (which was arguably more ‘Arnold’s follow-up to Total Recall than a sequel to a beloved low-budget cult film), this has been the kiss of death for every sequel that broke this rule. Alas, I’m pretty sure Hellboy II broke this rule too and will likely suffer for it (the original made about $67 million and I think the budget for part II is around $80 million).

  29. Aris P says:

    Mr. Murphy, it’s been a while. But I understand…. Welcome back.

  30. Don Murphy says:

    Aris- what the hell do you understand?
    Scott- while everything you say is true (except about Hellboy II which will do a LOT more than 1 thanks to insane video sales)I do NOT understand why no one reports what I have been told – that when Avi Arad made the financing deal with Merrill Lynch he put the rights to the fucking characters up us collateral. So essentially I don’t care how many Iron Mans you have (and yes I pre-admit to bitterness because Arad looked me in the eye and fucked me on the project) if over the course of the entire loan there is a net loss, they lose the fucking characters- which is all they are. This is why ( I was told) Arad was muscled out of the company. I mean owner Ike Perlmutter was like Arad’s brother and yet he pushed him out of the film division and the company leaving him to fend for himself with BRATZ. Thor? Ant Man? Captain America (in a world that hates the USA)? Losing the stock is a good idea.
    David- thanks for the answer – my emails to you are bouncing for reasons that I don’t follow. But I was curious. They want to do a deal on something and I am wary.

  31. IOIOIOI says:

    A world that hates the USA? No, they don’t. You dig?
    I also remember the story about the loan and the characters being used as collateral. Which is crazy, but the loan will be paid off thanks to other things. It may take a while, but the loan was crazy in terms of the collateral. Not in the terms of the conditions pertaining to that loan.

  32. doug r says:

    I get the feel from Incredible Hulk that Marvel is setting up the Universe and putting the pieces into place for future projects. They will have some infrastructure in place now. Any word if they shot any coverage for a sequel?
    Elf and Zathura: from the director of IRON MAN

  33. Exactly, doug. Don “Papa” Murphy proves to be getting older and more out of touch by the month. Kinda neat to see his missteps and poor guesses in living ‘net time.
    Murph…your cynical, childish slamming of Favreau proved to be totally, laughably off base and now, who knows what you do. With Rainn Wilson’s impending bomb known as THE ROCKER, maybe I’ll start ending my posts with….
    TRANSFORMERS 2 starring the guy who swung with monkeys, Brian Austin Green’s wife and the star of THE ROCKER

  34. IOIOIOI says:

    I swung with in trees with monkeys for a class project in 87. It was good times. Really good times. So stop belittling it. Oh go on. I am crying anyway. Nevertheless; Iron-Man has made more money than Transformers. Has it not?

  35. Hallick says:

    “My guess – and no one out there is doing anything but guessing at this point – is that the casting picked up viewers from each of the stars – Carell, Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, and Alan Arkin – each of whom has a very specific constituency.”
    They knew they’d hit paydirt when Arkin signed on and brought THAT constituency with him.

  36. Aris P says:

    Mr. Murphy — simply that I understand why you’ve been conspicuously silent on this site (Favreau, and Iron Man, and “all that”). God knows I would have too. But, again, welcome back!

  37. Rothchild says:

    I love Iron Man, Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., and everyone involved but…
    …Transformers has made 220 million more worldwide. Let’s be honest here. And they cost about the same, but Bay got more bang for his buck. I have no idea how he made a movie that looks like it cost 300 million for half that. You show me a movie with more scale, mayhem, and photorealistic CGI and…well…you can’t.

  38. Uhhh….IRON MAN just came out dude….final numbers aren’t in. And, more importantly, which movie was/did you like better?

  39. Don Murphy says:

    ahhh thanks Aris
    I have been silent because I have been producing movies.
    I’m not sorry the crowd of wannabes didn’t like my sig. It was a simple statement of truth, which some children cannot handle it appears.
    And anyone who doesn’t think the USA is currently hated by every other country hasn’t left their basement in years.

  40. Rothchild says:

    Iron Man is a classier movie but I saw it once in theaters and I’ll probably watch it one more time on DVD before the sequel comes out. I saw Transformers several times in theaters and I’ve watched it on DVD several times. It’s one of the most effective “thrill ride movies” in years. It’s just so goddamn big and visceral and fun. Iron Man is much funnier and a hell of a character movie, but I it’s a little lacking in the big summer movie department.
    And Don, I’m glad you admitted that the signature was because you got burned by Avi. I’d be pissed, too. That was pretty honest of you. But there’s nothing wrong with Zathura, and if you’re going to try and bring the box office into it, you’ve had several really good movies underperform. I don’t think you’d appreciate if people implied that was because of the quality of the movies.
    Zathura had a title that was impossible to sell to the average American and no big star like Robin Williams. If the title was better and they had someone like Owen Wilson in the Dax Shephard role it would have been a monster. It’s a great family movie and the practical FX work and the Stan Winston stuff in that movie is pretty beautiful and engaging.

  41. jeffmcm says:

    Zathura had a meaningless title, a weak script, and not enough commercial hooks to justify the budget. But it’s not bad at all.
    And we all know the sig was something more than ‘a statement of fact’. Too bad it was directed at the wrong guy.

  42. PastePotPete says:

    Since Iron Man was successful I keep seeing people speculating and passing on rumors about what the deal Marvel has with Merrill Lynch actually constitutes. The deal they made is a revolving credit line to finance the production of up to 10 films over the course of 7 years.
    The collateral Marvel put up for their revolving credit line at Merril Lynch is the MOVIE RIGHTS to ten characters, including Captain America, Iron Man, The Avengers(as an entity), Nick Fury, Ant Man, Iron Fist, Black Widow, and others. They would still own the characters in other media.
    Here is a good overview at the Motley Fool:

  43. “and far more faithful to the source than Rent.”
    I’ve only seen local productions, but wasn’t the problem with Columbus’ Rent that it was too faithful. That and he doesn’t know how to direct musical sequences.
    “If the title was better and they had someone like Owen Wilson in the Dax Shephard role it would have been a monster.”
    Drillbit Taylor.
    Hallick, I got a good laugh out of that Alan Arkin like.
    I’m surprised nobody’s made mention of The Love Guru‘s take. Surely fourth for the weekend is not good.

  44. The fatal problem with Rent was that the entire second-act was gutted for expediency and shallowness. Hence, all of Mark’s major numbers, the ones that tied the plot together and gave the show its emotional context, where axed. But of course, Mark is really the lead of the show (or at least the co-star) and the other characters come off as far more shallow than in the show without those songs and scenes (the Roger-Mark blowup, the song at Angel’s funeral, two humanizing scenes with Benny, etc).
    All of this stuff is one the deleted scenes section of the DVD and it’s a shame it was never edited back in for completests. The dumb part is that Columbus claims in the DVD that he cut these heavy, dramatic scenes because he felt the movie was becoming too emotional and too draining. Yes, because Rent is supposed to be light and fancy free. Without the emotional devastation that proceeds it, the somewhat implausible ending doesn’t work.
    And considering that the movie was already 135 minutes, it’s strange that Columbus didn’t just give the fans those extra ten minutes (or at least cut elsewhere, like the ridiculous protest song). Whatever the flaws of the movie (and there are plenty little ones), it could have stood as a wonderful time-capsule of a groundbreaking show, but without those key numbers, it is merely an ok adaptation.

  45. Martin S says:

    PastePot – Good link, but the problem is pretty simple; the movie rights are the character’s value. Fanboys love to tout recent comic sales, but the book division has been bleeding red for decades, which is why Arad initially planned on closing it in the 90’s. Without the movie, Toy Biz character sales are flat and I’d wager TV and direct-to-video rights are tied up with Lynch. Think of it as if Lucas retained the rights to Star Wars but the movie rights were owned by FOX. No matter what he brought to market, it’s not going to have the impact a movie will, good or bad.
    I’m somewhere between Dave and Don on this. I like the production freedom it brings, but you better have the right people calling the shots or an iron fist, (pun intended), on the wallet. Inc. Hulk seems to prove this, but is getting a pass due to IM’s take.
    Murphy – This is why (I was told) Arad was muscled out of the company. I mean owner Ike Perlmutter was like Arad’s brother and yet he pushed him out of the film division and the company leaving him to fend for himself
    Arad is still connected to all deals put in place before his exit, including all in the Lynch loan. Spidey, X, Punisher, Avengers, etc…he gets percentages and an exec prod credit. Runaways will be the first he doesn’t. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have signed the no-compete and instead gone straight to WB. The guy could’ve done some serious damage to the stock if he bolted for WB or even Disney right after Spidey’s opening. It would’ve looked like a five-alarm fire.
    As for Perlmutter, his track record was to sell a company at it’s peak, which was the original plan after the Toy Biz merger. Arad, around Spidey, had interest in merging Marvel with one of the congloms, feeling DC had a more enviable position but bad plumbling. Then Ang-Hulk happened which cooled a lot of deals. As I’m sure Don knows firsthand, Arad got frustrated. I know he went to Ike and it was a shit-or-get-off-the-pot moment at which point Maisel was brought in. Initially, he was looked at as the guy prepping the company for sale, but then the Lynch deal happened. Intially, Arad got the credit for the deal, but then he left. Now, Maisel gets retro-ink for putting it together. IMO, Arad wanted to merge with Paramount. He went from Toy Biz CEO to Marvel CEO, so why not studio head or division CEO?
    But, yes, Don got screwed. He should have gotten an IM co-producer credit.

  46. David Poland says:

    Funny thing… I am not someone who thinks Favreau is a hack. I took Don’s point back them, but disagreed.
    Conversely, this idea – obsession, in some quarters – that he is the straw that stirs the Iron Man drink is truly brain damaged.
    Yes, someone else could have screwed it up. Yes, someone else could have stepped on Downey. Yes, someone else could have obsessed on the wrong element of the story.
    But is there a single beat of particularly interesting direction in that movie? No. There is not a single thing that a director with stronger chops – which Favreau will have the next time out after doing this one – could not have done better… the suit, realistically, being in the hand of others.
    Favreau is good with actors. That is his strength as a director. And that is the tone that The Geeks seem to want in these movies… lots of character chatter and 3 or 4 big CG action sequences. So good for Favreau and good for Them. But let’s not confuse ourselves about what was on the screen and what was not.

  47. Don Murphy says:

    You seem to know a lot. Who are you?
    My disputes with you-
    1- Arad is still attached to the old deals yes, the studio ones and Iron Man, in perpetuity. The new films, I think no. Not just Runaways- Cap, Thor, Avengers- I think he is out.
    2- Not sure if you were just speculating but the chances of him going to Warners or Disney were always nil. He is seen as a very smart peddler, not a studio kingpin. Arad films hasn’t exactly rewritten history with no characters to own has it?
    3- I agree about the need for the right people. But Kevin Feige is the Arad legacy- a nice guy, but still really a kid. He gets the pat on the back for pushing for Downey (which COULD have failed) but then I understand he was the cause of the negative Norton publicity.
    4- The other big point overlooked is that the REAL gems at Marvel- Fantastic Four, Spiderman and especially X MEN are tied at studios who will NEVER let them go. As I understand it, based on deals done back in the day by Bill Mechanic, Marvel’s fees on ALL THREE X Men films were under $5m.
    5- Who actually IS David Maisel and why would anyone think he knows the movie biz? Asking sincerely.
    6- Martin thanks for acknowledging the screwing but it was worse than that. Guy who I looked up to as a friend and mentor looked me in the eye and lied to my fucking face.
    I like to tell a joke about him these days, kind of indicative of how empty he must be… he bought a HUNDRED room house up in Mount Olympus area. You know what you get when you have a hundred room house?
    A LOT of empty rooms.

  48. IOIOIOI says:

    Basement? Basement? Look everyone! A somewhat big Hollywood producer that produced a movie that only me and three people loved (Shoot’em up is good stuff) brought up the whole GEEK LIVING IN A BASEMENT thing! The internet: where silly shit happens. However, I would suggest that producer get for some change, and read all the newspaper ready for change. It’s all about the front-man with the world, sir. If we have the right front-man again. We will be loved once again.
    Oh yeah, Heat, you have found another way to bash Iron-Man. You sir are a hoot.

  49. Lynch Van Sant says:

    Here’s some more sequels that I’m sure cost more than the originals: Aliens, Rambo:First Blood Part II, The Empire Strikes Back, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, X-Men 2. But again, the first movies were so well liked that there was a pent up demand for a sequel unlike The Hulk.

  50. Martin S says:

    Poland – Geeks seem to want in these movies… lots of character chatter and 3 or 4 big CG action sequences.
    That’s a very good way of putting it. It explains the love affair with KevSmith and Whedon.
    Don –
    I did analysis work for years. Marvel was one I tracked from the New World/Perelman days and still follow. The White Whale to my Ahab, as it were.
    1 – I’m almost positive Arad’s getting something off of anything under development during his watch. Namor, Deathlok, and established properties, which should include the Avengers titles since he put a number of them in script stage. You’re probably right though on some like Fury and Moon Knight. Avengers is almost certain. If Feige won’t tell you, go knock on Kelsey Grammar’s door.
    2 – You’re right. He’s smart with no properties. I was speculating this; Spidey 3 opens, Marvel gets a stock bump from the opening, and then two days later, Arad bails to WB or Disney for a standard development deal. When asked, he could say nothing about why he left but that the characters owned by said company are “underutilized”. The rumor mill would have killed Marvel on the street and put IM’s production under a ton of stress.
    3 – Didn’t know about the Norton deal with Feige. That flies in the face of everything Kevin’s done publicly. I’m more convinced now than ever that Inc. Hulk was made for contractual obligations and was the only way to get the rights from Universal.
    4 – The old Marvel deals are nuts, you’re 100% right. But they were made in the heat of the 90’s when Perleman thought a Marvel Restaurant was a good idea. I never made it to the one in Orlando, but I can only imagined what it was like to get a burger-n-fries from a guy in a lycra Daredevil unitard.
    5 – Maisel, IIRC, is ex-CAA from the Ovitz days. He also worked, I believe, as a Besson-like cleaner, (restructuring), of corporations before they went on the block.
    6 – Don, the only reason Iron Man moved at Par so quickly was because of the legwork you did at New Line. Without that, they would have been at square one.
    Honestly, I always assumed you were more pissed about the direction things went with Fav’s than anything else. But when I saw the final credit line and you weren’t a Co or Associate among a dozen names, – some I never even heard of – that’s when I knew it was a shafting and not “creative differences”.
    And one suggestions – Zoids.
    Or if you want to catch He-Man early, Power Lords.

  51. “Here’s some more sequels that I’m sure cost more than the originals: Aliens, Rambo:First Blood Part II, The Empire Strikes Back, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, X-Men 2. But again, the first movies were so well liked that there was a pent up demand for a sequel unlike The Hulk.”
    No, no. What I said is that if you spend more on your sequel than the original GROSSED in the US, not cost, than you will invariably tank. Most sequels cost more than the originals, but as long as you spend less than what the original earned at the box office, that lessens your chance of financial peril.

  52. jeffmcm says:

    “That’s a very good way of putting it. It explains the love affair with KevSmith and Whedon. ”
    Those are two filmmakers who ‘chatter plus CGI’ _doesn’t_ explain. They’re both almost all chatter (or, if you prefer, characters + smart dialogue).

  53. Don Murphy says:

    Thanks Martin (who is this guy)
    Grant Morrison the comics god suggested Zoids to me last year
    Problem is I need to figure out ownership- if it is Hasbro then like Marvel it has become LTS again.

  54. T. Holly says:

    Wall Street analysts can’t predict box office for Mamma Mia. Kelsey Grammar? Norton “deal?” Deal is the wrong term. IIRC must be so Wall Street.
    A “cleaner,” ditto. So now we kind of know Don’s beef.
    “LTS” anyone?

  55. Aris P says:

    Mr. Murphy,
    My assumption has always been Martin S = Martin Spencer, CAA. Even if it’s not, I always read his posts in Spencer’s accent.

  56. Bob Violence says:

    This opening was worse than Wayne’s World… better than WWII.

    Better than World War II? Talk about damning with faint praise!

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon